Diageo, the owner of Guinness, has announced that they will be launching a brand new premium blend Irish Whiskey named Roe and Co., scheduled to be released across Europe in March 2017.
The major global beer and spirits company are planning to make a €25 million ($27 million) investment into this project over the next three years. This includes the construction of a brand new distillery near their Guinness Brewery at St James’ Gate in County Dublin.
The proposed site for the new distillery is the former Guinness Power House on Thomas Street, only a short distance from the brewery at St James Gate, and very close to the old George Roe distillery, from which the name of the whiskey is derived.
Planning is still yet to be approved by Dublin City Council but Diageo are confident that they will be able to begin construction soon with a hope that they can start production at the new distillery by 2019. Until then Roe and Co. will be produced by blending different whiskies from various distilleries throughout Ireland, which will be sourced by their master blender Caroline Martin.
After two years away from the Irish whiskey market, Diageo are hoping to capitalize on the growth of this category over the past number of years. Roe and Co. will need to compete with the likes of Jameson, owned by Pernod Ricard, which makes up 70 per cent of the global Irish whiskey category.
In a statement Ireland’s Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed TD said, “Irish Whiskey is experiencing a renaissance and is truly an Irish success story. It is seeing a return to the success it experienced in its golden era in the 19th Century and is now the fastest growing spirit drink in the world with global sales increasing by over 300% and record exports of over €400 million in the last ten years.
“This commitment and investment by Diageo comes at an opportune time for the sector which is experiencing unprecedented global demand. €25 million ($27 million) investment in this project over 3 years will support the local economy, create jobs, and bring a welcome new addition to the City’s tourism offering.”
In 2015 Diageo pulled out of the Irish whiskey market altogether by trading its Bushmills Irish Whisky brand with spirits maker Jose Cuervo for full control of the Don Julio premium tequila brand. But now after a surge in the Irish whiskey market over the past number of years, Diageo want to re-enter the thriving market.
This news comes on the back of the announcement that Diageo will investing $50 million (€46 million) into a brand new Guinness brewery at Relay in Baltimore County, Maryland. This will be the first time in over 60 years that Guinness will have a brewery in the United States. Construction is scheduled to begin during fall 2017.
This will be similar to the Guinness Open Gate Brewery in Dublin and will focus on crafting beers specifically for the US market. Guinness Draught will continue to be manufactured at St James Gate brewery in Dublin.
What is your favorite Irish whiskey and are you looking forward to a new brand on the market? Let us know in the comments.